Tribute in Light beams from Lower Manhattan for 9/11s 19th anniversary


Published: 02:19 BST, 12 September 2020 | Updated: 05:49 BST, 12 September 2020

Two powerful columns of light are beaming into the sky from Lower Manhattan this evening to represent the fallen twin towers of the World Trade Center that was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001.

The coronavirus pandemic meant there were alterations to usual ceremonies that are traditionally held on the tragic date.

In New York, the annual tribute was almost cancelled after the 9/11 Memorial and Museum said there was a virus risk to the installation crew until the uproar restored the tribute.

The cancellation outraged some victims’ relatives, police and fire unions and politicians, who noted that construction sites around the city were deemed safe to reopen months ago. 

The Fire Department cited the virus in urging members to skip observances of the 2001 attacks that killed 2,977 people, among them almost 350 firefighters.

The Tribute in Light shines into the sky over Manhattan in New York to mark the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks

The beams of light shine high into the night sky above one of the massive pools that sit in the ‘footprints’ of the original towers

The Statue of Liberty is seen as the Tribute in Light shines in downtown Manhattan to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum

The Tribute in Light as seen from Brooklyn with the Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground and the reflections of the East River 

Tribute in Light, two vertical columns of light representing the fallen towers of the World Trade Center shine against the lower Manhattan skyline, as seen from Jersey City, New Jersey

After the Tunnel to Towers foundation said it would organize the display on its own, Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the memorial’s billionaire chairman, stepped in to keep the memorial-sponsored lights on. 

‘This year it is especially important that we all appreciate and commemorate 9/11, the lives lost, and the heroism displayed as New Yorkers are once again called upon to face a common enemy,’ Cuomo said in a statement. 

‘I understand the museum’s concern for health and safety, and appreciate their reconsideration. The state will provide health personnel to supervise to make sure the event is held safely while at the same time properly honoring 9/11. We will never forget.’ 

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum’s annual Tribute in Light was initially cancelled this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reversed this decision, announcing that the state will provide health personnel and supervision to maintain the light installation

The Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center are seen as the Tribute in Light shines in downtown Manhattan

Roses are seen on the 9/11 Memorial as the Tribute in Light art installation shines into the sky over Manhattan on Friday night

New York Fire Department (FDNY) firefighters stand on their truck outside the 9/11 Memorial as the Tribute in Light art installation shines into the sky over Manhattan

Some victims’ relatives say they understand the ground zero observance had to change in a year when so much else has.

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum also cancelled its tradition of having relatives read the names of the dead aloud and instead offered a recording to those gathered at the World Trade Center site.

According to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the twin beams of light are made up of 88 7,000-watt xenon lightbulbs that are positioned into two 48-foot squares — echoing the shape and orientation of the Twin Tower. 

The lights extend four miles into the sky, and can be viewed from a 60-mile radius around Lower Manhattan. 

The Tribute in Light lit up at dusk on Friday, and will light up the sky overnight until dawn on Saturday. 

The steal and glass towers of the financial hub of lower Manhattan are seen, dwarfed by the soaring beams of the Tribute in Light

A white rose is seen on the 9/11 Memorial as the Tribute in Light art installation shines into the night sky

The buildings of lower Manhattan are all aglow with the Tribute in Light towering above the city’s iconic skyline

Another view of the moving tribute as seen from the Brooklyn side of the East River, looking across at downtown Manhattan 

The Tribute in Light is pictures as seen from the New York borough of Queens

Lady Liberty is pictures holding her golden torch directly in the center of the two powerful beams of light as part of the tribute

People take time to view the tribute on the 19th anniversary of the attacks, as seen from Jersey City across the Hudson River 

Even from a couple of miles away the lights can be seen as they illuminate the nighttime sky across the nation’s biggest city

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